Riding the Tide of Modern Healthcare: A Rhetorical Analysis of Low Technologies




Brinkley, Katlyn

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Healthcare systems tend to be pressured to run quickly and smoothly, both for patients and physicians. To address this, technology is used to accelerate the experience. The medical field requires trust and positive rapport between patient and physician, but the emergence of technology creates a risk of breaking that relationship. Studies have shown that there are certain healthcare settings that rely solely on technology, and this reliance on technology could prevent physicians from delivering the highest level of patient care and personalizing the common medical experience. Some examples of these technologies are pain and risk evaluation forms, which are documents that transform qualitative patient feedback into objective, quantifiable data. In this study, a rhetorical analysis of the language and implications of five commonly used pain and risk forms was conducted. After using theories by Charles Ogden, Ivor A. Richards, Marshall McLuhan, Robert Scott, Roland Barthes, and Aristotle to analyze the communication and rhetoric within these five technologies, this study argues that they are ineffective in providing the highest level of patient care. By relying too heavily on technology, many health problems can develop in the future. The results suggest that the evaluation forms and their scoring methods could be researched further. Additionally, the rhetoric could be refined in order to make appropriate use of the pain and risk evaluation forms; these changes would ensure that the patient-doctor relationship is not damaged and communication is preserved to deliver the most accurate treatment.



healthcare, pain scales, low technology, theory, rhetorical analysis, Honors College


Brinkley, K. (2017). Riding the tide of modern healthcare: A rhetorical analysis of low technologies (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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